Some factors to consider when comparing bulkhead, or basement, doors are weatherproofing, insulation and slope. Bulkhead doors are made of wood, polyethylene or steel. The type of material chosen depends on the slope of the entrance and whether the foundation rises above the ground.
Bulkhead doors can be customized to match the home's decor adding both aesthetic quality and value. New basement doors should be sealed to protect from the weather. Panel inserts are also available for the sides of the doors and allow small windows to be added, providing light and ventilation.
Other considerations are ease of use and escape. The doors should be easy to open with minimal effort and should not slam closed. The type of hinges and bars used determine this. Many building codes specify that basements used as sleeping quarters must have a means of escape in case of emergency. A basement bulkhead's ease of use keeps it up to code. The amount of maintenance and upkeep depend on what material is used in the doors. Steel doors require annual painting. Polyethylene doors are generally maintenance-free except for occasional cleaning. Wood doors are not recommended because moisture tends to rot the wood and cause mold.